A common trope in yaoi and shounen-ai is the struggle, both internal and external, of being gay. And of course, that has its time and place. However, I appreciate mangas that move past that, and tell the story of characters who happen to be gay, not the story of gay characters. Count 0 is just such a story. Yes, the protagonists are guys and they fall in love, but their gender plays no role in the plot and conflict of the manga. Instead, the mangaka told a funny and original story about marginalized characters who struggle with fitting in, but for reasons other than
their orientation. And I did think the story was very original. I do not remember reading any other manga that features a character who can "lie counters" above people's heads.
I think the premise could have lead to a much grimmer manga. And perhaps that story would have been more memorable and breathtakingif the mangaka took it in that direction. But the story Satoru sensei wrote is fun and enjoyable.
In addition, Count 0 does not contain much of character development; however, the characters are all rather cute, and they do learn a little bit as the story progresses, even if the lessons are all a little silly. Agatsuma learns that while he can tell if people are being honest or not, he cannot relay on that fact alone to determine a person's goodness and worth. Misono learns that sometimes it's worth it to tell a lie. And Shinoyama learns that it's possible for him to be loved. Silly lessons, and the situations that lead to the characters learning them are not particularly complex. But they were funny and cute.
This is certainly a feel-good manga, and I recommend Count 0 if you're looking for something to put you in a good mood.
I hope this mangaka writes some mangas!